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August 2012 – Teachable Moments
Aug 312012
 

It looked like Thursday was going to require an advanced degree in order to navigate successfully through the parenting maze.  It isn’t that parenting my teens and pre-teen is that hard, it’s needing to be in multiple places at one time.  Take school, work, band, choir, and football, and throw in a read-a-thon and back to school night and you have a  full day, to say the least.  I was ready to make the ‘ultimate mom sacrifice’ and skip E’s first football game so I could drive the other two around, but we made some adjustments and hubby and I were able to make it to E’s first Freshman Football game. I am so glad I went!

As we drove down to San Gabriel in the sauna that has been Southern California for the past month,  I must say that my biggest concern was how sunburned I’d be by the time I got home. I had donned my only pair of shorts in an attempt to keep my body temperature below 100 degrees.  Turns out wearing shorts was a good idea for another reason.

The traffic wasn’t too bad heading east on the 210 (small miracle) and, as we drove the last few blocks towards the high school, a few fat, juicy raindrops hit the windshield.  “One.” I counted. “Two.”  Then got ‘the look’ from the hubby.  I got all the way to seven before it quit sprinkling. Ahhh, too bad.

“It would be so great if it rained on us,” I said thoughtlessly.

We arrived at the school just in time to find our friends in the stands and obey the cheer leaders’ command to “Stand Up for the Kick-Off”.  We scanned the sidelines for our boy in his #69 jersey. He looked so huge, I couldn’t believe it was my kid. When did this happen?  (*Side note: I think they gave him that number because they knew he could handle it with maturity and panache.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just forget I ever said anything.)

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 Posted by at 21:27
Aug 252012
 

So apparently August is ‘Romance Awareness Month’ which makes perfect sense since it’s the month that my hubby and I got married, my parents got married, my aunt and uncle got married, and my grandparents got married.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but we chose August for our wedding for reasons totally unrelated to ‘romance’.  

Wedding Photo

Honestly, August just worked for our schedule: 6 weeks after finals and a month before we had to be back in school. We figured that would give us some time to adjust to married life before we plunged back into our college courses.  I can’t remember if it worked.  

Now that we’ve been married for over half our lives, ‘romance’ is becoming an even more illusive concept, especially when it comes to our anniversary.  We even spent our anniversary in separate time zones one year.  (Not much romance in that since we didn’t even know how to Skype yet.)  

So where does romance fit in after all this time?  I’m not sure I even remember what it is.

Lacking any books on the subject, I turned to the internet.  I figured Cosmo might have something to say on the subject, so I went to their website and typed ‘romance’ in the handy search bar.  109 articles came up.  Since I only had an hour tops until hubby came home and caught me, I thought I better limit my research to one or two of these.  Which to choose?

Just looking at the top 10, I eliminated a few right away: Is Splitting the Bill Hurting Your Romance? (haven’t split a bill with him in about 25 years), Personalized Romance Novel (like sexy madlibs?), and How to Date a Coworker (wouldn’t do a thing for my marriage).  Down to 7.  Cross off the fashion advice, celebrity gossip, romance survey results, and the book club recommendations and I was down to 2: 12 Romance Rituals to Start and The Passion Python.  

Since children and my in-laws read my blog, I chose the 12 Romance Rituals.  

What I found from reading those 12 Rituals is that over the last 25 years or so, we’ve done some version of them: Go on a vacation, give massages, make a sexy playlist, go on a picnic. We’ve even watched True Blood together.  

Here’s my take-away from all this ‘research’:  Be more intentional about romance…..Which brings me full-circle back to “Romance Awareness Month.”  Now I get it.  Being aware of the romantic possibilities helps you seize the moment.  

Since I suck at being spontaneous, I’ve added “Be Romantic” to my weekly to-do list.  Does that make it any less meaningful?  You’ll have to ask my hubby.    

 Posted by at 21:44
Aug 072012
 

School starts in just two short weeks for us and even though our friends and neighbors are savoring the last of summer, we are already back in the swing of things here thanks to Marching Band Camp.  Sunshine, my oldest, is now a Senior in High School.  He got himself up at 5:45 this morning and jumped right back into the routine.  

I love the fresh start that the beginning of the school year provides.  I’m always happy for the opportunity to reboot my routine and re-establish good habits.   I don’t know what it’s like not to “go back to school”: my parents are both educators and I’ve been a student, a teacher, a teacher’s wife, a parent, and an administrator.  I dance to the rhythm of the school year whether I want to or not.

That being said, I thought I’d share some of my tips for starting the school year off right.  

1. Get a Calendar and USE IT!  I recommend a central, visible written calendar for the whole family.  With five of us going different directions nearly every day, a calendar is essential.  We write everything on the calendar so it’s important that the squares are big enough for all our information.  Football, Marching Band, Back to School Night, Minimum Days, Work Schedules, Youth Group, Doctor and Dentist Appointments – it all goes on the calendar.  I tell my kids “If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening.”

calendar2.jpg 

2. Get ready the night before.  Think through your day and prep as much as you can. Encourage everyone to pick out their clothes the night before and lay everything out. Seriously, your know it’s much better to discover that your kid is out of clean underwear at 7 p.m. than at 7 a.m.  If you have a kid who can never find her shoes when it’s time to go, have her put them by the front door before she goes to bed.  Establish a gathering place for everything you need to take with you when you leave in the morning: backpacks, instruments, sports equipment, P.E. clothes, etc.  Consider packing the car the night before if that’s practical. The more you can do before you go to sleep, the easier your morning will be.  

3. Use the power of 15 Minutes.  I’ve written before about the power of 15 minutes, but it comes into play again at this time of year.  When faced with homework, especially after a carefree summer, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.  If you’re faced with a whiny or defiant kid at homework time, set the timer for 15 minutes.  Challenge them to focus until the timer goes off and then reward them with a brain break.  Sometimes you’ll find that they’ll keep working after the timer goes off just because they are so close to finishing or they’ve gotten into the groove.  

4. Read everything the school sends home on the day it comes home.  I know, it’s a ton but it’s important to know what’s going on and you don’t want to be the parent who forgot to pick up your kid on the first minimum day.  Transfer all the important dates straight to the calendar right away and toss all the papers that you won’t need.   My least favorite thing about starting a new school year is all the paperwork that I have to fill out as the parent.  Fill out and sign everything on the day it comes home so you don’t have to think about it again.  This is where the power of 15 minutes comes in handy: don’t be afraid to set the timer for yourself.  You’ll feel so much better when it’s done.  

5. Set a Simple Routine.  Whether it’s morning, after school or before bed that is the hardest for you, a routine can help.  The goal of a routine is to make part of your life automatic so you can concentrate on the fun and important things.  For kids a routine makes part of their life predictable so they can spend mental energy learning new skills.  Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have to repeat the same words every day.  How do you set a routine?  Start simple.  Think about the top 5 things that must be done and write them down in an order that makes sense to you, i.e. shower, get dressed, breakfast, pack lunch, free time. Now post this list somewhere you will see it! It takes 27 days to make a habit so be kind to yourself (and your kids) and don’t give up!


Last night Sunshine gathered his supplies by the front door and laid out his clothes without a word from me.  He got himself up in the morning and was ready to go by 6:30 a.m.  Not every day will start this smoothly, but we’re off to a good start.  Here’s to another successful school year!

 Posted by at 08:12